STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton put out its best performance of the weekend in the series finale on Saturday, but Sam Houston was one step ahead as they swept the series with a 6-4 victory at the Tarleton Baseball Complex.
The Texans (13-26, 6-12 WAC) matched the Bearkats (22-17, 13-5 WAC) hit total of six and climbed back from a 6-0 deficit to make it a 6-4 game in the sixth.
Tarleton was able to stay in the game thanks to Matthew Hickey’s stellar performance out of the bullpen. He entered the game in the top of the fourth for starter Kyler Mentzel (L, 1-4). Mentzel, the freshman, threw 3.2 innings allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits. He struck out three.
Hickey, normally the closer for Tarleton, was plugged in earlier than expected as the Texans had some injuries on their pitching staff. He made the most of the opportunity, pitching a career-high 5.1 innings allowing a lone run on three hits. He struck out five, another career-high. He threw the final five frames, keeping Sam Houston off the scoreboard for all of them.
Carlos Contreras stayed hot for the Kats with his third multi-hit performance of the weekend. He posted three hits and four RBI to help lead an otherwise quiet Bearkat offense.
Sam Houston took the early lead in the game as they plated a run off a Texan error in the first and brought three more across in the second thanks an RBI single from Lane Brewster and a two-run single from Contreras.
Bearkat starting pitcher Coltin Atkinson (W, 4-0) kept Tarleton scoreless through the first four innings. He threw 6.0 innings allowing four runs on six hits and striking out six. The Bearkats did not issue a walk in the game.
The Kats stretched it to 6-0 in the fourth as Contreras doubled to left field to score two. That was the final time they would bring a run across in the game as Hickey put the clamps on the rest of the way.
The Tarleton offense came to life in the fifth inning. Kemuel Thomas-Rivera, Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo and Corey Young singled consecutively to lead the half inning off and load the bases.
Colby Feris hit an RBI fielder’s choice to the first baseman that scored Thomas-Rivera and Bryan Aguilar laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Choy Foo. The Texans left the inning trailing 6-2.
The Texans answered in the sixth with two more runs. London Green led off with a single to the right-center field gap and Alec Williams hit a shot off the right field wall to score him. Jake Escalon came up in the next at bat and singled to center field to push Williams to third base where Thomas-Rivera then hit him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The teams were both held scoreless through the end of the game. Braden Davis and Lance Lusk (S, 6) held the Texans hitless as they combined to throw the final three innings to close the door.
Tarleton will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington to take on UT Arlington at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.